Human traffickers are targeting tens of thousands of women from regions in Nepal left destroyed by last month’s devastating earthquake.
The traffickers are believed to be entering some of the worst affected areas as chaos from the earthquake acts as a cover to allow them pick women to abduct and force into the sex trade.
“This is the time when the brokers go in the name of relief to kidnap or lure women. We are distributing assistance to make people aware that someone might come to lure them,” Sunita Danuwar, director of Shakti Samuha, an NGO in Kathmandu told the Guardian newspaper.
“We are getting reports of [individuals] pretending to go for rescuing and looking at people,” she said.
The paper quoted a senior western aid official in the Nepalese capital as saying: “There is nothing like an emergency when there is chaos for opportunities to … traffic more women. There is a great chance that everything that is bad happening in Nepal could scale up.”
Meanwhile, Bad weather has cut links with a remote village in Nepal where dozens of villagers and trekkers are believed to be buried under an avalanche set off by last month’s devastating earthquake, officials said.
The death toll from the April 25 quake in the Himalayan nation has reached 7,566, and over 14,500 people were injured, the government said.
About 100 bodies were recovered on Saturday and Sunday at Langtang village, 62km north of Kathmandu, which is on a trekking route popular with Westerners.
The entire village, which includes 55 guesthouses for trekkers, was wiped out by the avalanche and rescuers are digging in the snow for signs of about 120 others believed buried.
Gautam Rimal, assistant chief district officer in the area where Langtang is located, said authorities had not made contact with Langtang for more 24 hours because of bad weather.
Meanwhile, a row has broken out between Nepal and some international agencies over the handling of aid that poured into the country after the earthquake, with each side blaming the other for confusion and delays in getting help to victims.
Frustrated by the lack of co-ordination, some donors are circumventing the authorities and sending supplies directly through non-governmental organisations for distribution, said an aide to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
“There are differences between the government and some donors over this,” the aide said.
The government has begun asking foreign teams to wrap up search and rescue operations as hopes of finding people alive in the rubble receded.
“They can leave. If they are also specialists in clearing the rubble, they can stay,” Rameshwor Dangal, an official at Nepal’s home ministry, said.
An EU source said only about 60 citizens from the 28-nation bloc were still unaccounted for. Last week a senior EU official had estimated around 1,000 EU citizens were missing after the quake. The number is “going down by the hour” as rescue teams reach remoter areas, the EU source said.
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